NSF Workshop: Community Sedimentary Model for
Carbonate Systems, Part II
January 26-27, 2009
Peter Burgess, RHUL, UK
Rick Sarg, CERI, Colorado School of Mines
Gene Rankey, Univ. of Miami
Evan Franseen, Univ. of Kansas & KGS
With Appreciation, Support
Provided By:
Kindly Hosted by:
Community Surface Dynamics
Modeling System
Dr. James Syvitski, Director
Review of the 2008 Meeting
NSF Workshop on Community
Sedimentary Model for Carbonate
Systems, Golden, CO
Date: February 27 to 29, 2008
“The purposes of the workshop were to identify grand
challenges for fundamental research on ancient and recent
carbonate systems, and to identify promising areas for
advancing the next generation of numerical process models
to enhance our ability to meaningfully and accurately model
carbonate systems”, Sarg et al, 2008
Review of the 2008 Meeting
Rick Sarg, CSM – co-convener
Evan Franseen, Kansas GS – co-convener
Gene Rankey, Univ. of Miami – co-convener
Dave Budd, Univ. of Colorado-Boulder
Bob Demicco, Binghamton Univ.
Andre Droxler, Rice Univ.
Ben Gill, Univ. of California-Riverside
Cedric Griffiths, CSIRO, Australia
Pamela Hallock-Muller, USF, St. Petersburg
Bjarte Hannisdal, U. Bergen, Norway
Bill Hay, University of Colorado Museum
Jon Hill, Edinburgh, UK
Linda Hinnov, Johns Hopkins Univ.
Chris Kendall, Univ. of South Carolina
H. Rich Lane, NSF
Timothy Lyons, Univ. of California-Riverside
Bernhard Riegl, Nova SE Univ., FL
Andrew Ashton, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst.
Jody Webster, James Cook Univ. / U. of California-Davis
Pete Smart, Bristol Univ., UK
James Syvitski, Univ. of Colorado – Boulder/ CSDMS
Albert Kettner, Univ. of Colorado – Boulder / CSDMS
Eric Hutton, Univ. of Colorado – Boulder / CSDMS
Shell – Peter Burgess
Shell – Conxita Taberner
ExxonMobil – Karen Love
ConocoPhillips – Bill Morgan
ConocoPhillips – Steve Bachtel
Chevron – Mitch Harris
Chevron – Gareth Jones gareth
Chevron – Jean Hsieh
Andrew Svec, CSDMS Executive Asst.
Dixie Termin, CERI Program Asst.
Meeting Remit
Themes for fundamental research:
• Develop next -generation of predictive facies & platform concepts
• Focus on main processes e.g., biologic & chemical sediment production,
transport by waves & currents
• Stress integrated study of processes, environments, basin architecture,
climate, & sea Level in modern and ancient systems
• Develop minimum of two levels of numerical models – long-term, time
averaged, & short-term event-level scale depositional processes
• Not one model, but a suite of inter-connectable process modules with
common architecture for defining model domain and boundary & initial
• Diagenesis will be included e.g. reactive transport modeling
Then What Happened?
Day 1
• Introduction from Rick Sarg
• Keynote presentations - James Syvitski, Gene Rankey, Dave
Budd, Peter Smart, Bill Hay
• Discussion
• Definition of working groups for breakout sessions
Day 2
• Rick recaps
• Breakout sessions for working groups
• Working groups report
Day 3
• Gene recaps
• Synthesis of working group results into rough draft framework
document & formulation of joint research agenda
• Workshop adjourns
Workshop Breakout Sessions
Objectives for each Breakout Group:
1) Current level of knowledge – qualitatively & quantitatively.
2) What are our grand challenges for the future?
3) What are our knowledge gaps? What experiments are
necessary to close those gaps?
4) What kinds of data do we need, and who are the necessary
5) Concise white paper summary.
Workshop Breakout Sessions
Breakout Topics:
• Physical Controls on Carbonate Deposition
Morgan & Demicco
• Biologic Controls on Carbonate Deposition
Webster & Hallock-Muller
• Tools & Approaches for Quantifying Controls & Improving Time Scales
Hinnov & Droxler
• Modeling Diagenesis
Budd & Jones
• Numerical Modeling Strategies
Hannisdal & Griffiths
Physical Controls on Carbonate Deposition
Major knowledge gaps:
• The effects of sea level fluctuations on sediments,
• How to predict sedimentation patterns in a nonlinear and complex system, as opposed to assessing
sediments in a 1:1 linear relationship vs. depth;
• Processes and time scale of geomorphic and facies
patterns formation
• Quotidian vs storm influence
• Models for different environments - reefs, shoals,
platform interior and tidal flats
• Physical processes vs hardgrounds and benthic mats
• Phanerozoic sea water chemistry controls on facies
Physical Controls on Carbonate Deposition
Short-Term Goals: Achievable by assembling existing data
1. An inventory of modern platforms types and depositional systems
and an associated inventory (database) of physical measurements
and models from these systems, leading to
• A new classification of different platform types and depositional
• Indication of gaps in physical measurement data that are
inhibiting modeling;
2. Sensitivity analyses on ranges of parameters in existing numerical
modeling to delineate physical parameters that need to be
measured or better understood. E.g. “friction factor” in CARB3D+ important but vague.
3. Assemble a catalog of existing numerical siliciclastic models to
assess parameters these models use as input, and explore for
possible overlap with carbonate cousins
Physical Controls on Carbonate Deposition
Medium-Term Goals:
1. Collecting oceanographic measurements (waves, tides, and
currents) across one or two different platforms.
2. Development of preliminary “sector models” of various specific
environments to provide “modular” input to a larger community
model. For example, we would envision a “reef model”, one or
more ooid shoal models; a tidal flat model, and a platform
interior model.
Long-Term Goals:
1. A detailed coring program on one or more platforms to evaluate
the platform depositional architecture, to provide information to
test models.
Biological Controls on Carbonate Deposition
Major knowledge gaps:
• Lack of quantitative understanding of
• The boundary conditions for hypercalcification
• Rates of production and how they relate to rates of
deposition & accumulation
• Relative rates of bioerosion and physical erosion
• The nature and origins of spatial heterogeneity
Basic questions
• How do carbonate producing communities function and how
does the sediment produced accumulate?
• What is the relative importance of different biota under
different boundary conditions?
• how does the seascape heterogeneity translate to
stratigraphic heterogeneity?
• what are the origins of lime muds?
Biological Controls on Carbonate Deposition
Short-Term Goals:
• An updated literature search of biota- and habitat- specific rates
of carbonate production, accumulation, and bioerosion,
including microbial contributions and interactions should
provide essential information for modeling
• Identification of key experimental sites and gradients provides a
necessary first step for quantifying carbonate biotic
Biological Controls on Carbonate Deposition
Medium-Term Goals:
• Research to constrain controls on rates and nature of calcification
by key biotic groups (e.g., corals, coralline algae, calcareous green
algae, larger benthic foraminifera, microbes, including
• Data to constrain seascape dynamics and patterns at targeted
locations, both on the surface and stratigraphically, and across
Long-Term Goals:
• A rigorous understanding of the geochemical and physical
constraints on carbonate production, and its spatial
• Translation of this understanding into numerical models…
Major knowledge gaps:
The lack of benchmarks for the 3D rather than 1D
distribution of processes and products in time and space
Significant uncertainty in many input parameters to
diagenetic models e.g. fluid chemistries, some
thermodynamic and kinetic properties of carbonate
minerals, and the nature of many mechanical processes.
The possible existence and influence of thresholds in
diagenetic processes, and other nonlinear feedbacks of
processes, products, and geochemical attributes
The role of biogeochemical reactions (i.e., catalysis,
Empirical rules associated with some key processes (esp.
When to use transport- vs. reaction-controlled processes
The nature of diagenetic outcomes at the full spectrum of
scales, from thin section to platform-scale
Short-Term Goals:
• Dissemination of current numerical codes to grow the user
community, and to develop community libraries of validation
• Develop consistent input parameters (e.g., depositional
porosities), and improve most problematic of process rules.
• Test existing tools at the pore scale.
• Establish examples of 3D diagenetic processes and products in
select settings to have data sets to validate numerical codes.
• Partnering with larger carbonate community.
Medium-Term Goals:
• Couple second generation diagenetic models with improved
sedimentary process models.
Long-Term Goals:
1. Define some long-term goals…
Numerical Modeling
Major knowledge gaps:
1) A lack of basic understanding of many processes
2) Uncertainties in scaling of processes temporally
and spatially
3) Dearth of information on the influences of nonlinearity and non-stationarity in biologic aspects
of carbonate systems
4) Only qualitative insights on the feedbacks
between different processes
5) Absence of understanding of the controls on
heterogeneity at different scales.
Numerical Modeling
Short-Term Goals:
• Assign responsibilities for the cyber-infrastructure (i.e., GUI,
protocols, coupling, and visualization).
• Build a module inventory and make modules available worldwide.
• Make available 5-9 modules that could include biogenic and
inorganic production, biologic ecosystems and communities,
physical and biologic syndepositional processes, dissolutionreprecipitation, cementation, hydrodynamics (e.g. Delft3D, ROMS),
and sediment transport (CSDMS, e.g., SedFlux, SedFloCSTMS).
• Verify modules on appropriate time scales, and establish at least
one database for testing.
Numerical Modeling
Medium-Term Goals:
Involve students from geophysics, applied math, and computer science fields
Have stage 1 modules tested and improved.
Document modules and begin coupling with climate/ocean/siliciclastic models.
Conduct initial sensitivity studies, and complete a comparative numerical scheme study.
Conduct two international workshops in carbonate computational issues, and achieve
“buy-in” with non-NSF funds for module development.
Ensure high performance computing access, and activate partnerships.
Have modules running efficiently on HPC, and have at least one useful prediction.
Publish a series of peer reviewed papers using the workbench modules, and conduct a
number of sedimentology courses in US using the carbonate workbench as a lab tool.
Long-Term Goals:
• Numerical work-bench for carbonate knowledge generation is
available to the carbonate community
• Workbench prediction will be able to influence observatory
systems like the Global Ocean Observatory.
Summary & Conclusions
Grand research challenges for advancing understanding of modern
and ancient carbonate systems include:
• Quantitatively understanding and modeling facies heterogeneities
developed over various timescales, as influenced by changing
biotic, paleoceanographic, paleoclimatic, and sea level conditions;
• Understanding the appropriateness of using Holocene tropical
shallow-water reefs as analogues for ancient carbonate buildups;
• Developing predictive numerical simulations of diagenetic history
from the scale of the pore to the scale of the platform by
incorporating and coupling sedimentation, chemical and biological
alterations on the seafloor, mechanical overprints, and chemical
alterations resulting from fluid flow;
• Resolving cyclostratigraphy to the 0.02-0.4 my level using high
resolution biostratigraphy and absolute age dates
Summary & Conclusions
Recommendation to ID field sites for special focus:
• An area with good modern to Pleistocene strata, to examine the
effects of ocean conditions and climate change on carbonate
sedimentation, and the evolution of sediments into beds and strata
• Important analog field areas that combine outcrop, behind outcrop
access, and subsurface equivalent strata, to build a new generation
of 3-D carbonate system models.
So Now What?
We create outline NSF research proposals to begin
to implement these research plans
You each need to:
• Help create proposals based on the themes and suggested
lines of research from the Feb 2008 meeting, plus
whatever new ideas we agree on today and tomorrow
• Consider what role you can realistically fulfil and what
resources you would need to do it
• Include absent colleagues who have appropriate expertise
and then approach them to be co-investigators on the
• Consider both pure and applied research aspects – input
from industrial attendees required
• Aim to leave meeting with outline proposals in place and a
clear list of actions for everybody to follow as well as an
agreed timescale for completion ...
So Now What?
Monday AM
Intro - scope and purpose of the meeting
Update on CSDMS
Review of results of last meeting – recommendations etc
Brain storming to decide broad proposal structure e.g How many?
Main themes? Etc etc
Decide groups accordingly
Monday PM
Generation of outline proposal/s:
Review of progress, plans for Tuesday work
End of day one